A Hearing Loss & Late Deafened Blog

All In A Days Work

In Employment, Hearing Loss, Uncategorized on February 23, 2009 at 11:54 pm

14/365 – the librarian in me, originally uploaded by ~shepdc~.

Last week it happened again. At the beginning of the day, I went out to my car for something and accidentally locked myself out of the building. I do this about once a year. In fact, most of us do. There were two people inside– one, like me, who couldn’t hear, and one who could. Just as I rang the buzzer, SHE pulled in, then teetered her way across the parking lot, keys in hand.

“Why did you bother buzzing?” she screeches, “Margie is just as DEAF as YOU. She can’t hear anything!” She punctuates this last with a final scoff just to make sure I understand how inconvenient it is to work with deaf people. I explain Margie isn’t alone, and that I had hoped Sue would hear it, but that she had not. I am tempted to explain that I actually CAN hear the door buzzer because my of my good low tones, but I don’t feel like going into the details of my audiogram–yet again– that early in the morning. Experience tells me she doesn’t listen anyway.

I wonder how many of you work with someone like this? Most every office has at least one difficult person. We tip toe on egg shells around them. They take offense if you offer help, because they’re “CAPABLE OF DOING IT!” But they also get annoyed when no one offers to help — “FINE! I’LL DO IT MYSELF!”

Later that afternoon someone wants to speak to her while she is taking her lunch break. I cringe.  She’s still in the building, eating in the lunch room. The message comes via a third party who mumbles. In the past, she has thrown fits when people haven’t fetched her from her lunch break to discuss “IMPORTANT BUSINESS!” But she also throws a fit when her lunch is interrupted. None of us ever knows when it’s important enough to interrupt her break, so we always do. Can’t win.

I tentatively stick my head in the door and say, “Carl needs you.” She slams down her book and glares. A few moments later she sniffs past my desk on her way to meet Carl. Five minutes later she’s stomping back, then sneers over her reading glasses, “It was LAURA, not Carl.” She says LAAUURRAA in drawn out syllables to emphasize my stupidity in mixing up the two names. I shrug. Thank God she isn’t my boss. I’d quit.

This is indeed a difficult person.  I’m not the only one who feels this way, but I am targetted more often than others because of my hearing loss.  It gives her some extra fodder to work with.

A desk mate across the way begins to chuckle. “SHE’S having a day, isn’t she?”

“I thought it was Carl,” I say. “I don’t do it on purpose, ya know?”

“You don’t do what on purpose?” she asks.

“I don’t mishear things on purpose.”

“You didn’t,” she says. “It WAS Carl that wanted her. . . and then Laura.”

It’s bad enough to mishear things, but to get blamed for mishearing when I heard right somehow seems worse.  And yet, given the choice I’d never exchange my hearing loss for her anger problem.

  1. Ugh – she sounds like a real piece of work. I’ve worked with several like that. They’re called workplace bullies. One of these days you’ll need to stand up to her and tell her that you think of her behviour. It might not change her behaviour, but it’ll make you feel better – honest 🙂


  2. If it were me, I’d say “Go pick on somebody your own size” to a blamer who twists info to make me look bad. Keep a record of such incidents and write down who witnessed them as well. Should things ever come to a head with this angry person, you can go to your supervisor with this written track record.

  3. Robyn and Ann..

    You’re being too easy on Miss Blamer. I’m the type of person that it would only take one time before I got into that persons face. The first time something like that happened I might be able to understand. But after I explained my DEAF/HOH situation to them and it continued.. then it becomes “real personal”!

    My suggestion to our “All In a Days Work” commenter is a combination of both Robyn’s and Ann’s. I would very nicely (Like Robyn said, ie:) “tell Miss Blamer what I thought of her behavior”.. and like Ann suggested, ie: “keep accurate records of such incidents”.

    But then me being me “I” would go one step further. As I told her “what I thought of her behavior” I would then make it very, very clear that the next such incident by her would not only cause me to turn my back and ignore her.. but I would also let her know right up front that I would be documenting it for further use.

    In addition, the next time someone “wanted to speak to her while she is taking her lunch break,” I would just respond by saying, ie: “she’s in the lunch room” (or where ever she was at the time).

    If she gets huffy about NOT passing on the message to her just say: “I’m NOT here to pass on personal messages to you”.. and then just ignore her.

    Of course you could always say what I say in somewhat situations like that.

    “Do you work hard at being that inconsiderate.. or does it come natural!?”.. and then walk away.

    Shi-Ku Chishiki

  4. Wowsie. I can’t imagine having to work with someone like that. I agree with the advice that it’s time you got this in writing. You need to report her behavior and inform your boss how her “bullying” and attitude are wrong and harmful to the entire work team. It is only by making it official, that you can keep it from escalating. Remember that as it gets worse, it may be someone ELSE with a hearing loss or acquired disability that receives her snide and hurtful comments. Unchecked, her comments will only escalate.

  5. It seems that still, many hearing folks just can’t “understand” that hearing loss is a matter of not only not hearing sounds, but in comprehending words. The first thing we lose is the understanding of consonants. We hear people as if they’re talking as adults in a Charlie Brown carton episode. “Wha wah-wha-wha- whahaha” is what our hearing comprehends what is being said. We really NEED to be our own advocates, to tell hearing people what we hear, to also let hearing people know that we are intelligent, despite our hearing loss. Hey, I have a near genius IQ, my hearing loss DOESN’T make me dumb!!!!!!!

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